Postgraduate Taught

MSc Play Therapy

The MSc Play Therapy is a new collaboration between With Kids (a Scottish charity) and the MSc Art Psychotherapy (International) at Queen Margaret University.

Course Overview

The key purpose of the profession of play therapy is defined by British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT):

“Play therapy is the dynamic process between child and play therapist in which the child explores at his or her own pace and with his or her own agenda those issues, past and current, conscious and unconscious, that are affecting the child’s life in the present. The child’s inner resources are enabled by the therapeutic alliance to bring about growth and change. Play therapy is child-centred, in which play is the primary medium and speech is the secondary medium.”

The MSc Play Therapy aims to educate the next generation of play therapists to enable them to work safely and therapeutically with complex children and families.

Graduates will understand and work with the value of each individual child, the fundamental inter–relatedness of the child’s physical, emotional and social needs and the power of love and care to transform life chances.

Applicants should possess qualities that enable them to undertake study in an appropriate manner and at the appropriate academic level. Thus the students recruited to this course will be committed, diligent, enthusiastic and possess the skills, curiosity and drive to enhance their knowledge base.

Exit Awards

MSc (180 credits)

Learning, Teaching and Assessment

The teaching and learning approaches used encourage you to be an independent, participative learner. These approaches will engage you in lectures, problem-based learning, workshops, small group discussion, seminars, observation and skills practice. The course team aims to enable students to learn from and with others through supportive peer assessment and feedback, guided by the tutor. There are three play therapy practice placement modules where you will work directly with children and families of increasing complexity. Two modules include clinical observation of a child/children from infanthood to adolescence. Assessment methods include case study analysis, collaborative presentation, observation analysis and play therapy practice placement portfolio.

While as a postgraduate student you will predominantly be working independently, there is a strong structure for academic support. Normally, there are fewer than 20 students in the class ensuring that individuals receive excellent support and benefit from interaction with other students.

Teaching Hours and Attendance

The course runs over three years part time.

Students attend the learning centre at With Kids in the east end of Glasgow one day a week over the first two years.

Students will also undertake play therapy practice placement, observations and attend clinical supervision individually or in small groups. Students are expected to attend their own personal therapy for the duration of the course. 100% attendance is expected at all elements of the MSc Play Therapy.

Links with industry/ Professional bodies

The course is accredited by the British Association of Play Therapists.


Clinical Skills, Process and Practice 1,2 & 3 (10 credits each)/ Developmental, Clinical and Play Therapy Theory 1 & 2 (30 credits each)/ Research Methods (30 credits)/ Clinical Project (60 credits).

The modules listed here are correct at the time of posting (July 16), but are subject to change. In the event that modules have to change, QMU will seek to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that there is no detrimental impact to students.


Play Therapists practice in many environments, including: NHS, social services, primary, secondary, further and special education, charities, private practice, etc.

They also work with people of all ages (not just children) living with a wide range of emotional or physical conditions. While in 2015 the overall majority of play therapists in the UK work in health and the voluntary sector, there is a sizeable number of them working in schools and nurseries. For further information

Quick Facts

■ Rooted in the psychotherapeutic tradition of the Notre Dame Clinic which dates back to the 1930s.

■ The only Play Therapy training validated by a Scottish university in collaboration with a Scottish charity.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should either:

  • be professionals with relevant qualification and /or degree in a related discipline together with a minimum of two years post qualifying experience in, for example, social work, teaching, educational psychology, clinical psychology, nursing, or
  • have a minimum of five years relevant prior experience and learning.

Relevant experience means working face to face with children, young people and their families/carers.

Recognition of Prior Learning: The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) encompasses the process whereby one can identify, explore and claim credit for previous certificated and/ or experiential learning. Applicants however will not be able to receive accreditation in lieu of any part of the practice placements throughout the course.

International: Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to take an IELTS test receiving an overall score of 7.0 and no individual component score below 6.0.

Application deadline


More Information and Contacts

Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2017/18 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

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Course Overview

Part-time: 3 years
Start Date
September 2017
Study Abroad
School of Health Sciences
Fees & Funding